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Calgary Mayor & Council Approval Fall to Record Low

Posted December 19th, 2023 in Alberta Election, Alberta Politics, Calgary, Edmonton, Media Release, News by Marc Henry


Media Release


December 19, 2023 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(CALGARY) There may be 671 days until Calgary’s next municipal election, but there is already a mood for change among many voters, according to a recent ThinkHQ survey. Public approval for Calgary Mayor and Council has declined notably since June, now sitting at unprecedentedly low levels.


Mayor Jyoti Gondek


Jyoti Gondek is now the least popular mayor in Calgary’s history. The mayor presently sits at 30% approval compared to 61% disapproval in December, a significant slide in popularity since June. Over four-in-ten (43%) voters say they “Strongly disapprove” of the mayor, compared to only 7% reporting “strong” approval.



  • Men tend to offer much harsher appraisals of the mayor than women
  • Ratings of Gondek tend to decline with age, with those in the 55+ cohort offering the most negative assessments of the mayor
  • Disapproval for the mayor is more concentrated in established communities and in households earning more than $125,000 a year


Calgary City Councillors


Calgarians were asked to rate their ward councillor’s performance since they were elected in 2021. Aggregately, councillors receive modestly negative ratings from constituents, with 37% saying they approve of their councillor compared to 41% saying they disapprove. This represents a notable decline in councillor ratings over the past six months, down 6 points since our last survey in June. This represents an all-time low in Councillor ratings in Calgary.


Councillor performance ratings are reasonably consistent across demographic strata, with some variation, particularly in negative evaluations.


  • Residents in new and suburban communities tend to offer the highest ratings for their councillors, while those residing in established communities tend to be the harshest in their evaluations
  • Men tend to be more negative about their councillor than women


City Council Overall


Council’s overall approval with citizens tends to track in line (though generally behind) that of the mayor. This December, just over one-quarter (28%) of Calgarians say they approve of the performance of their municipal council overall, compared to 60% who disapprove. Again, negative ratings tend to be more intense than positive ones.


  • As with previous measures, age and gender influence performance ratings, with men and older voters decidedly more negative in their appraisals




Commenting on these survey results, ThinkHQ President Marc Henry notes:


“For as long as there has been municipal public opinion polling in Calgary, there has never been a City Council this unpopular.


Mayor Gondek, for her part, did not get off to a great start. Her high-water mark for this term was 38% approval, and she’s down 8-points since then. Her current report card comes on the heels of a 7.8% residential tax increase, and our poll was two-thirds through field when the mayor refused to attend the annual Menorah lighting ceremony at City Hall, so there’s a fairly good likelihood her approval is actually lower than this now.


Gondek is running out of time if re-election is something she’s aspiring to. The next municipal campaign isn’t until October 2025, but 30% approval is not something that can be rehabilitated quickly, particularly when over four-in-ten voters strongly dislike your performance.


There are some City Councillors in a very similar position to the mayor, mostly for taking the same positions as the mayor. It’s not just the rising dissatisfaction with Council’s performance, but the growing intensity of that dissatisfaction that tends to drive voters to the polls when the time comes.


Council still has a very contentious blanket city-wide re-zoning public hearing coming in April, and a 2025 residential tax increase that starts at 5.5% due to this year’s increase. The year leading up to election year is likely to be bumpy for Council, but if they don’t find the path to turning these numbers around, a good portion of Council may not be returning in 671 days.”



Click here to view the full release and methodology




Media Inquiries:

Marc Henry

President, ThinkHQ Public Affairs, Inc.